Friday, 13 November 2015

A small step along the road

Last year I posted about some parts of my journey into getting my life back on track after (and during) considerable bad health and other difficult personal circumstances.

At the time of posting I was just trying to organise and begin some voluntary work to get me back into the work place and get me recent experience to enable me to get back into paid work once more. Also, I was hoping, to try and improve my anxiety which has worsened over the past couple of years (after starting when I became ill with IBD and other related problems).

At the time, even making small steps to get my life back on track seemed to be met with big stumbling blocks, which when you feel like you've got everything against you and you are using all your emotional strength just to get that far, to be met by a brick wall can be quite distressing!

To start my position at the hospital I needed to have appropriate identification, in this case I needed a passport and my current one had just ran out! Great timing! I had no money to get a new one and no other appropriate identification and seemingly no way to get round the problem and was feeling quite defeatist at points (which can clearly be noticed in my quite negative post from last year)!
After finally getting some funds (through a small loan) and a couple more hiccups I finally got an application for renewal sent off.

Long story short I finally started the voluntary work in May last year at a local hospital.
I'm working on a stroke ward and on the waiting list to help on the children's wards, which not surprisingly are popular positions.
 I'm just doing one shift a week at the moment and only during term time as there is no one regularly to have G during the holidays. I do basic tasks and errands so it can be frustrating wishing I was doing more (having a medical role, wishing I could help in other ways when it's needed etc) but it does help psychologically being back in the work place (as anyone who has been out of work for a while will's awful!) and it is good to be helping in some way.
It is a step in the right direction, which may seem small to anyone reading, but it's a big one for me and a it's hurdle I've managed to jump over.

I am still struggling with my anxiety, but working in a hospital helps. I also now have the possibility I might be able to start volunteering again at the local (ish) animal sanctuary, where last year transport was an issue. A younger family member (who would have transport) needs some work experience and support and the animal sanctuary may be a great place to do it.
I would love to help out there again. The sanctuary is a charity so relies on donations and volunteers, and along side being an animal lover, I did a lot of charity and fundraising activities before developing Crohn's. It's something I'm still passionate about and enjoy but I'm now very limited in what I can do, but this is still one way I could help.

I am hoping soon I will have enough experience I can use for a reference and then the battle to get back into paid work will properly begin!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Throwback Thursday - Meeting Will Young

Sometime towards the end of May this year, my dream came true (well kind of) and I met Will Young!

 It wasn't quite like I imagined it would be, but I met him never the less!

Will was doing an album signing at the Manchester Arndale branch of HMV.

 I found out about it, literally last minute, a couple of hours before he was due there. It was a bank holiday Monday and we had stayed in and not been up to anything. It seemed crazy rushing out to Manchester, especially as it was via public transport but this was the first actual chance I'd had to meet him and I've wanted to since I was a young teenager, when he sang his way into the nations hearts on pop idol, all those years ago.

Luckily once at the train station, a train only takes about 7 minutes from where we are to the city center and once in the center I carried Grace as quickly as I could to the Arndale Center. I got horribly over heated, didn't feel very well, was in an awful outfit, definately having a bad face day (if there ever are good ones) and Grace was dressed in an outfit that resembled pyjamas.

I've never queued up with Grace to meet a famous person, infact I've never really queued up to meet a famous person at all, but it's definately not something I'd put her through regularly. We were at the end of the queue and when we got there she was really excited, dancing about to his music and happy. By the time we were nearing the front she was totally fed up and I was stressed!

When it was our turn he went to greet Grace and she'd gone from being excited to meet him to being incredibly shy and hiding behind me. Will crouched down to try and chat to her but she kept hiding away. He won her over by talking about her cat top and shoes, he was lovely with her.
Instead of saying anything of interest I blurted out a load of rubbish and probably come over totally loopy! Not the way I would have liked it to go. After a chat we had a photo with him and he offered to pick Grace up and hold her for it but she got all shy again so I held her instead.

It topped the moment of meeting Derren Brown, but I didn't really attempt much conversation with him, except about him taking my sister on stage.
I was still over the moon to meet Will Young but I do wish I'd been able to think straight when actaully talking to him!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Wicked Wednesdays - 'First Day Photo's'

So the past week or two lots of parents will have been posting their childrens first day at school photo's, capturing a big milestone for their child and an emotional moment for themselves, with their little one's looking all smart and delightful in their brand new uniforms.....

My wonderful little girl, who only turned 4 at the end of July, started school last Thursday. Our first day photo's didn't quite go to plan......

Dancing around!

I'd asked her dad to come for her first day as I felt she needed the support as she had been really upset at any mention of starting school. She was very excited to have him here so was jumping about the room and was in no mood for standing still for photo's even though she does love to pose.

Above is the closest I got to a 'proper' first day photo. Scrunched up face and taken  with not the best background as was the only time I got her to stop for a minute.

Stopping for a brief moment near the school gates....

Finally got there in the end.....

You can join in with Wicked Wednesdays over at Brummymummyof2's blog, just click on the photo below....


Friday, 4 September 2015

Review and Book of the fortnight: What the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks

This week G and I have been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the latest title from Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks; 'What the Ladybird Heard Next'.

Along side the review, this book is my young children's book of the fortnight and here is what we thought of it!

What the Ladybird Heard

Following on from 'What the Ladybird Heard', Lanky Len and Hefty Hue are back and this time they are after the fat red hed.
For those not familiar with the first book, don't worry you can still enjoy this book without having read the first.

Using her successful story telling formula, Julia takes us back to the farm where the ladybird and friends reside. With guidance from the little ladybird, the animals work together to once again foil the plans of the two theives.

I have to be honest, at first I was not sold with this book. I felt that it might be just too familiar to the first, with the verses of fun and repetitive farmyard noises found in the first, reappearing in this second story.

Fun farmyard verses

 Obviously though this book was not aimed at someone in their late 20's and the above were a part of a magic of the first book, where I enjoyed them and a are a great way for children to interact with the story. We all know young children love repetition.

What makes the story original was the introduction of a new character, the 'snuggly snerd' and it was this that my 4 year old noted as her favourite thing about the book. She particularly loves the picture and how it lays huge eggs.

Julia has once again teamed up with illustrator Lydia Monks for the these stories, whose pictures really bring the story to life. I particularly love the bright, eyecatching front cover of this book. It's something that would stand out to me from the shelves of the bookstore.

Along side What the Ladybird Heard and her other collaberations with Lydia (The princess and the wizard, The singing mermaid, Sugarlump and the Unicorn to name a few) this book also has the lovely glitter effect which is a another great way for little one's to interact with the story.

We enjoyed this story and the new way in which the animals mislead Hugh and Len and we have read it three times already.

Lovely detailing

Colourful, appealing illustrations

I'm sure that most households across the country with young children will have atleast one title from Julia Donaldson in their bookcase and this is a great one to add to the collection.

For those who want a closer look, you can see the trailer below

The book is not out until September the 10th but you can preorder your little one's a hardback copy of it here with a preorder special price of £5.99, when normally it retails at £11.99. You can also get free delivery if you are ordering over £10 of books.

Coinciding with the launch of the book, Macmillan children's books have posted a fun Q&A session with Julia and Lydia for you to get to know them a bit better.

So what do you think? Will you be buying a copy?

*This is not a sponsered post but for the purpose of this review we recieved a copy of the book. All views are our own.
Family Fever

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Returning to the world of blogging.....

It will be 8 months on Monday since I did any work on this blog. On new years eve, just before the clock struck midnight and the new year of 2015 began, my bloody laptop decided to die!

I was no longer able to carry on with the blog and I have many posts still unfinished, left frozen in time!

So 8 months have gone by and I've still not been able to sort out my laptop predictament. However with my little monkey starting school next week, I am thinking I may have the time to blog using my way past it's best computer (very old, slightly useless and alot more time consuming than using the laptop). 

So with that slightly dramatic introduction, I'll just get to the point. I'm back! 

To those of you who were reading, I hope you'll come back and join me again :)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Festive Flashback Friday

So I've missed Thursday so instead of a throwback Thursday it's a flashback Friday instead!

These photo's are from the Christmas Party at playgroup last year. It was a lovely time even though I was actually incredibly unwell. St. Matthews have always been a lovely welcoming place to go. G has grown out of the playgroup mostly and most of the parents going have changed. That along side trying not to push myself as much after getting hospitalised last Christmas meant we haven't been much since but I miss it!

If I ever have another baby and the group is still running I'd definitely go back.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Our festive fun during Advent

I'm one of those, maybe boring people, who is against putting up decorations until December the 1st, however this year I caved in and they started going up on the 23rd of November. We'd had a crappy day and G didn't remember the decorations from the years before so it was like a bag full of magic and excitement. Plus she's been bugging me for a few days about putting the trees up!

When it reached December and the Advent Calenders came out I felt at peace with the tree being up ha.
I love all the festivities that come with Christmas and although funds are tight yet again this year we are still having some festive fun.

Here is what we have been doing/will be doing/would like to be doing in the lead up to Christmas!

23rd: A Winter Fair: Handforth paddock fair to be exact, it was supposedly a Christmas fair although the Christmas music was barely audible and there was no sign of Santa but still a good time to be had!

28th: St. Georges Christmas Tree Festival - Ok so this was in November, the very end mind, but it helped get in the festive mood. A local church to us is filled full of lovely twinkling trees decorated by local organisations. It was £2 for an adult and free entry for G. She enjoyed a nice christmassy biscuit for just 20p (a big one too) and had a photo with a cuddly version of Santa and high fived an elf. I wish I had some photo's of it all!

29th: Nurserys Christmas Craft Session. Nana and Grandad had arrived for the weekend that morning so it made it more Christmassy. A lovely hour an a half at G's nursery doing christmassy crafts such as snowman making out of marshmallows, decoration making, reindeer food making and more along with a nice tea or coffee (and squash for the children) and a piece of Christmas cake or a mince pie. (photo)

29th: Santa's Grotto: I decided to fit this in when Nana and granddad were visiting so they could come too!
I chose the Arndale's Grotto as adults didn't have to pay. 
 I also liked the look of Tatton Park Grotto & farm, The Trafford Center Grotto and the local garden centers grotto's and breakfasts with Santa. The only problem with those though is that they limit accompanying adults to 2 per child. I need another child!
G enjoyed her visit and I thought the Santa was great. She got given a little chocolate reindeer lolly, as did mummy (woohoo!) and a reindeer soft toy.

29th: Watching Frozen with nana and grandad - Now my lg is a big frozen fan like so many other children right now but we don't actually watch the film over and over like others do. Nana and grandad had also never seen it before so it was nice for G to snuggle up on the sofa with them and watch it.

Christmas desert - After visiting the pet shop, some other shopping and an active trip to a local park G's nana and grandad took us out for tea to Pizza express. Their mince pie clotted cream cheesecake is SO nice. It was a tough choice between that and their snowball doughballs but I definately made the right one.

1st: Advent Calenders - Ok so this year we just have the not so imaginative chocolate ones from the shop but these are still exciting for a 3 year old and if you have the money there are an exciting variety of alternative calenders out there. Next year I hope to be making our own. Here's some wonderful homemade options I like the look of.

Decorating the tree/trees - I know a lot of people prefer to do this when the kids are in bed but it's so much nicer for them to join in even if the tree does look a bit unusual after. I love classic beautiful trees, beautifully lit and those with colour themes but I grew up with one that was bright and colourful full of meaningful decorations so that is what we have with our main tree now.

Making Salt Dough decorations  We had a go at some this year too however after a bit of shape cutting and the girls getting covered in flour (G may as well have been a snowman) my sister and I ended up doing the shapes whilst the girls played (read trashed the front room) happily. Salt Dough ornaments can make a great personal gift. G was happy doing anything that afternoon as she loved having someone round to play with.

Dance to a Christmas CD - I would love one with Mariah's classic, Slade, East 17 on etc but last year I just brought the cheapest one available with has the older classics on ....Bing Crosby etc. G has enjoyed dancing around to it and becoming familiar with the songs.

A Christmas Fair - St Matthews, another local church, with lovely friendly people, held a Christmas fair the sat just gone that we popped along to for a bit. I would have liked to have tried Marples Christmas Cracker too, mainly because of the reindeer (as G has been asking to see some) but we couldn't get there. Maybe next year!
Taken by Pam
Go on a Christmas lights walk - This costs nothing but your time and a normal walk is jazzed up by the presence of Christmas lights. We go spotting them on our walk home from nursery but I'm going to take her out on a walk to spot some in the rest of the neighbourhood.

7th: Blogger Christmas craft event I was very lucky and excited to have been invited to my first Blogger event last weekend. It was held at the Ministry of craft venue Fred Aldous in Manchester on behalf of GUMI - Growing Up Milk Info. A Christmas craft event of decorating stockings with guidance from some wonderful tutors accompanied by tea and cake. It was lovely to meet other bloggers and I will be posting about it once I've finished my stocking as popping out to get some fabric glue to make some final adjustments as I ran out of time on the day.

Courtesy of Frank PR/GUMI
Photo courtsey of Frank PR/GUMI

Local Christmas events: Cale Green park was holding one on 7th unfortunately at same time as the blogging event but I'm sure was lovely for all who went with bell ringing and carol singing.

9th: A Nativity Play: G is doing her first Nativity in nursery this year. Today I got to see her and the rest of the red room in action. They all did really well and it was so cute and funny. I just don't have a photo of her in her costume to ass yet.

Christmas Cards: G is actually quite enjoying doing Christmas cards this year although I'm a bit stressed myself as I usually don't leave them so late and the price of stamps makes me want to cry. G got one today from her best friend at nursery which was nice.
Visit/go on a Christmas experience If you're thinking of planning one a bit last minute check out the Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park. We visited in 2012 and it was wonderful. I can't afford a Christmas experience this year but I'd love to go back another year. I also like the look of Lapland UK, the Santa steam specials and Winter wonderland in Event City to name a few.  

Ice-skating: G really wants to go ice-skating soon. I took her once about 9 months ago and it was like Bambi on ice! Thank goodness for Sammy the Seals. Both Spinningfields and The Trafford Center have ice rinks near me. If you are lucky enough to be able to go during the week, I'd suggest going then as it's a lot quieter from the looks of things.

 21st Christmas Carol Service: Last year i wanted to take G to her first Christmas carol service but I ended up incredibly ill in hospital with my Crohn's and it's complications. This year, touch wood, I hope we will make it. I'm not religious myself (spiritual though) but the services remind me of my childhood. I remember my mother taking us to a christingle one year when we were young and then in secondary school we had a carol service at the local church every year.
My mum kindly brought her a little carols books from a charity shop and G is loving singing them at night times with me before she goes to bed.

Christmas eve box - This year I am doing one for G for the first time after hearing all about them the past two years. I was too unwell/broke last year and also this year I think she is now old enough to appreciate it. also her great Nana very kindly gave some Christmas money for her so that has helped!

Here is what I'll be putting in it: 

  •  New Christmas Pyjamas
  • A Christmas DVD - possibly Aurthur Christmas
  • A mug with hot chocolate sachet and mini marshmallows
  • A Christmas Book - The Night Before Christmas
  • A Santa Key

What have you been getting up to during Advent?